Purdue News

January 18, 2005

Purdue puts out call for life sciences business plan competitors

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University is seeking entrants for a business plan competition that will award $147,000 for startup companies that describe the best path to market for products and technologies in the life sciences, biotechnology and biomedicine.

Teams must submit an e-mail entry form and executive summary by Jan. 28 to enter the third annual Purdue University Life Sciences Business Plan Competition, conducted by the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and sponsored by Roche Diagnostics Corp. Online registration is available. Visit the competition Web site.

From the entries, 20 semifinalists will be selected by March 7 to submit a full business plan.

Eight finalists will be chosen from the written business plan phase of the competition. Those teams will make 45-minute presentations to a panel of judges April 20 on Purdue's West Lafayette campus. The judging panel includes venture capitalists, scientists, attorneys, accountants and academics, mostly representing the sponsoring firms and Purdue.

Teams based at universities and colleges, research and teaching hospitals, and other academic institutions engaged in bioresearch are eligible to enter. While there is no restriction on the number of members on teams, teams should have at least one team member with business experience.

Teams may be fledgling enterprises seeking seed capital or those further along in the commercialization process, including firms that have received grants, venture capital or equity investments, but entrants can have no third-party intellectual property agreements.

First prize in the competition is $50,000, plus $10,000 in legal and business services; second prize is $20,000, plus $8,000 in legal and business services; third prize is $15,000, plus $6,000 in legal and business services; fourth prize is $7,500; fifth prize is $5,000; and sixth prize is $2,500. Seventh and eighth place earn $1,500 each.

BioCrossroads and the Indiana Health Industry Forum, which are organizations dedicated to the growth of the life sciences industry in Indiana, are offering a $20,000 prize for the best plan and presentation by an Indiana-based team. Presentations, judging and awards presentations will take place on April 20. Teams also will have the opportunity to display their technologies and marketing materials.

"Our partnership with Roche and our associate sponsors has resulted in a business plan competition with one of the largest prize packages anywhere," said Richard A. Cosier, director of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and dean of Purdue's Krannert School of Management. "This has become a high-profile annual event that attracts national and international competitors and spotlights Indiana's public-private commitment to the life sciences."

Founding sponsor Roche Diagnostics is again contributing $100,000 to the competition. Other returning associate sponsors for the 2005 contest are: Aventor, Baker & Daniels, Indiana Health Industry Forum and BioCrossroads. Ernst & Young is a new sponsor this year.

Mike Fitzgerald, director of business development for Roche Diagnostics, North America, said, "Roche Diagnostics is pleased to be the founding sponsor of this competition. We believe it is important to encourage businesses to stretch their imaginations to come up with that business idea that is creative and at the same time can be put into practical use. While this competition will not finance their entire venture, it will offer them a good start. We look forward to this year's presentations."

FFA Sciences, from San Diego, took the top prize last year. FFA's technology is a handheld diagnostic tool that measures the elevation of free fatty acids in heart attack victims' bloodstreams and enables caregivers to respond more quickly than with current technology.

Second and third place went to Prosolia (pra-SO-leah) and Tienta Sciences, two Indiana companies that were formed to commercialize technology from Purdue's Aston Laboratories for Mass Spectrometry and the research of R. Graham Cooks, Henry Bohn Hass Distinguished Professor of chemistry, and his colleagues and graduate students.

"In its first two years, the Purdue Life Science Business Plan Competition has exhibited a high level of technology, polished presentations and a good interchange among the competitors and judges," said Don Blewett, associate director of the center for entrepreneurship. "The competition is an opportunity for startups to fine tune their pitches to a tough audience.

"While the prize money isn't going to start a business, it's enough to build a prototype, fund some extra research or attend a trade fair or two. And being a winner of the competition with Purdue's and Roche Diagnostics' names on it speaks well for the competitors as they seek venture financing of their enterprises."

The Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship at Purdue's interdisciplinary research hub, Discovery Park, brings together existing entrepreneurial efforts on campus, including technology transfer activities and other entrepreneurial competitions, speakers and events. The center also serves as a resource for Purdue researchers to commercialize their discoveries and as the intellectual center of education on, and discussion of, entrepreneurial philosophy and issues.

Indianapolis is home to Roche Diagnostics' North American headquarters with approximately 2,500 people on the Indianapolis campus serving a broad product portfolio and supplying a wide array of testing products and services to researchers, physicians, patients, hospitals and laboratories worldwide.

Inquiries about the competition should be directed to Blewett at (765) 494-4485, blewett@mgmt.purdue.edu.

Writer: Mike Lillich, (765) 494-2077, mlillich@purdue.edu

Source: Richard A. Cosier, (765) 494-4366, rcosier@mgmt.purdue.edu;

Don Blewett, (765) 494-4485, blewett@purdue.edu

Doyia Turner, Roche Diagnostics corporate communication, (317) 521-7252, doyia.turner@roche.com

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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